Could private security guards be patrolling the streets of Thurrock?

WITH Essex Police facing £43 million pounds worth of cuts, many residents have to deal with the possible situation where police response times get longer or indeed the police cannot respond at all.

There may be a gap in the market.

Security specialists, Garde UK recently spoke at a meeting of the community group, the Friends of Blackshots.

Their presence illustrates a fundamental schism between how different groups feel youth crime/anti-social behaviour (asb) should be tackled, especially in the Blackshots area of the borough.

Earlier this year, a number of organisations raised nearly £18,000 for the installation of a youth shelter in Blackshots.

Youth shelters are seen as an alternative to young people hanging outside shops and according to reports, have cut incidence of asb

But to the deep deep dismay of a number of groups, the plan was vetoed.

Commenting on the presence of Garde at the meeting, Blackshots councillor, Ben Maney said: “There are no plans as yet to employ their services in any part of Blackshots or in order to address any particular problems.

Garde Uk merely wished to give a flavour of the work they undertake and to explain how they can serve communities directly.

“There were mixed views from residents. Some obviously felt that to personally contribute towards private security would be to pay for services the police should be carrying out.

“In the main I believe people were open minded and felt such an arrangement could work if the majority if people in a given area joined up to such a partnership.”

There are a number of questions regarding accreditation and what powers an organisation would have.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: “The Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) was introduced by the Police Reform Act, 2002.

As with other legislation that has been approved by Parliament, it has been fully debated and decisions made. Not all members of the Scheme are given powers – some merely wish to take part in CSAS to highlight their commitment to security or community safety in their area.

There is a process to be achieved which incrementally leads to whether any powers are required, and what if any, could be helpful. If it is thought a power will assist community safety or security in that area, the police district commander is consulted for their view.

From the Home Office published list of lower end powers potentially available, specific powers would only be agreed if relevant to the community safety or security needs actively being undertaken.

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